WANDA: The Window Automated Natural Daylight Assistant; The Reduction of Energy Consumption through Automation

Carter, Edward, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
JACQUES, RICHARD, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Powell, Harry, EN-Elec/Computer Engr Dept, University of Virginia

As a computer engineering major, I have a great fondness for technology and its immense benefits and potential. However, throughout my studies, I have grown aware that all these advancements have come at a cost. These costs are often tied to adverse effects on the environment and the living organisms that inhabit it, including humans. In given the opportunity to research innovations in my field, I wanted to explore methods and technologies that help offset the harm on the planet and its inhabitants. Both my technical project and STS research involve automated processes. My technical work consists of the use of automation to give consumers a convenient way of managing their window blinds. My STS research paper explores ways automation can be used in buildings and vehicles in order to save energy and reduce carbon emissions.
The technical portion of my thesis produced the Window Automated Natural Daylight Assistant (WANDA), which provides aid in regulating the natural sunlight and solar heat in homes. WANDA gives consumers the option of lighting rooms with natural light instead of turning on the lights. The same option is given with heating and cooling, cool down by blocking sunlight, heat up by letting solar heat in. The use of these natural sources instead of other higher power alternatives overall reduces the consumption of energy. Although these benefits are provided, WANDA’s primary task focuses on user privacy using a motion sensor. The implementation of the outward-looking motion detector will identify suspicious movement to prevent trespassers visibility of the house’s interior while still providing the additional benefit of optimal lighting through automation to conserve energy.
In my STS research, I review ways in which automation could be used to reduce carbon emissions. Specifically, I explain how automation could be used in residential buildings and passenger vehicles to cut energy use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions effectively. First, I described two ways a building could be automated by building smart homes or adding cost-efficient products and appliances to modify existing buildings and the respective environmental impacts. Second, I extended on how automation can reduce carbon emissions in transportation. The four main factors I consider are VMT, impact on road congestion, and vehicles’ fuel efficiency and fossil fuel consumption. Lastly, I go over the negative ramifications and provide a rebut.
In creating an automated system before working on my STS research, I grew an awareness of the ways manual tasks can be automated. I also learned the underlying principles of automation, which helped develop the simple understanding of the technologies that came up in my STS research. In researching automation for my STS work, a lesson on how automation could increase efficiency and productivity and reduce costs was enforced and enhanced.

I want to acknowledge Professors Harry Powell, Adam Barnes, and Richard Jacques. Thank you for your advice, guidance, and patience. I would also like to thank my capstone group members Brandon Chan, Kwadwo Boateng, and Mesgana Dinare, for their stellar hard work, dedication, and humor.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Automation, Energy Reduction , Energy Conservation

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
Technical Advisor: Harry Powell
STS Advisor: Richard Jacques
Technical Team Members: Brandon Chan, Kwadwo Tenkorang, Mesgana Dinare

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